Not all health insurance plans cover eyeglasses, which leaves many patients in the position of having to either pay extra for vision insurance or pay out of pocket for the eyeglasses that they need to be able to see clearly. Neither of these is an ideal situation – vision insurance premiums can be expensive, and so can eyeglasses. Furthermore, insurance usually only pays for a limited number of pairs of glasses in a specific time period, so if you break a pair of glasses, you may still end up having to pay full price for your next pair. If you're in need of a new pair of glasses from a place like Spectacle Shoppe, Inc. but don't have hundreds of dollars to spend, check out a few tips that can help you save some cash.
Don't Feel Stuck Buying From Your Optometrist
Shopping around is the key to saving money on a lot of different products, and eyeglasses are no exception. A pair of glasses can range anywhere from under $10 to over $1000, and which price yours are closer to depends in large part on where you buy them. Don't feel obligated to buy your glasses from the eye doctor who examined your eyes.
Your main options for in-person eyeglass shopping include eye doctor's offices, chain eyeglass stores, and warehouse clubs. All three have different advantages and disadvantages. Your eye doctor's office will probably give you the best service, and a chain store will be more likely to get you in and out with a pair of glasses quickly (handy if you've recently broken your only pair of glasses). But if you want to save the most money, a warehouse club is probably going to be your best bet.
Consider Buying Online
Eyeglasses may seem like a strange thing to shop for online. After all, you can't try them on, and no matter how fast the eyeglass website promises to ship your glasses, they won't arrive as quickly as you could get them from a retailer in town. That means that online shopping is somewhat risky. You may end up with frames that you don't really like once you try them on, and you may be stuck without glasses during a time when you need them.
However, if you can live with those two possibilities, shopping online for frames can save you a lot of money. Online retailers have lower overhead and expenses than physical stores, and can therefore offer much deeper discounts. Some online retailers have websites that will allow you to upload a photo of yourself, then virtually try a pair of glasses on your face before you buy them. And with the lower prices, you may be able to order two pairs at once, giving yourself a backup.
Save Your Old Frames
Often, it's the frames that cost the most money, especially if they're a high-end designer frame. If you have a frame that you love and that looks great on you, don't get rid of them if you shatter a lens. Just take out the old lenses, and take the frames, with your prescription to your eyeglass retailer of choice.
Most eyeglass retailers will put new lenses in your old frames for minimal cost. Even if the frame itself is damaged, as long as the repairs needed are minor, using an old frame is still likely to save a lot of money, and you get to stick with something that you know looks great.
Check Out Charities
If you're low-income and can't afford to buy the glasses you need any other way, there are several non-profit organizations that can help you reclaim your vision. New Eyes for the Needy provides free prescription glasses, The Lions Club gives out vouchers for eyeglasses, and Sight for Students helps low-income children fill their eyeglass prescriptions.
You'll need to fill out an application and meet certain qualifications for each organization. Whether or not you need help paying for your eyeglasses, keep these and other charities in mind when you're getting rid of your old glasses and frames – they can be recycled through these programs and others to help provide new glasses for others.
Eyeglasses don't have to cost a fortune. You can find the glasses that you need at a reasonable cost if you learn where to look and what to look for.